ISPs should use popularity of iPlayer as a learning experience for IPTV

Web TV services essential preparation for the big test of IPTV according to global telecoms test and measurement provider

The recent launch of the BBC iPlayer and similar peer to peer (P2P) web TV services has resulted in internet service providers (ISPs) to call for content providers to pay for the costs of delivering bandwidth intensive multi media content to consumers.

However according to Ralph Daniels, Director, Systems Engineering at Spirent Communications, ISPs are paying to upgrade their networks anyway and can use the delivery of web TV as a crucial learning experience.

This will stand them in good stead for when they can drive revenue through the delivery of high quality internet protocol television (IPTV) to home users TV sets.

He explains: “ISPs are investing in their networks anyway to deliver faster, more data-intensive broadband services with the intention of providing high quality IPTV to subscriber’s living rooms.

Most ISPs should already, or be in a position shortly to handle the additional bandwidth demand generated by web TV without additional investment.”

Daniels continues by stating that the delivery of P2P services is essentially self-regulating: “Providers will cap P2P / web-surfing per subscriber at an advertised rate.

A P2P user that reaches their limit will back-off on their use or purchase the next level of usage allowance from their ISP.

As such users have a choice of either using less bandwidth or paying more and enabling ISPs to claw back any investment they need to make in order to carry a greater level of P2P services.

“IPTV will be a different story and represent an entirely different challenge for ISPs since they will need to deliver a constant, high speed, bandwidth heavy and uninterrupted data stream to customers.

They will not be able to slow down traffic like they can now because it will directly affect the quality of the TV service and make it unacceptable to users, nor can they cap data for the same reason.

As such ISPs will have to keep up with the total demand for bandwidth which will rocket with IPTV.

Since this will represent a massive step for ISPs they will be grateful for the experience they have had by handling relatively high bandwidth traffic prior to this.”